God Is ... Present
One of the promises of the Lord that I hold close is that He is ever present. He has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us. There is nothing we can do that will turn Him away, nothing that can make Him take a break from us, or give up on us. He never turns His head for a moment, never takes His eyes off of us.
No, He is Immanuel -- God with us. He is with us right this very moment. Present literally means “facing”, meaning God is facing us always. His face is always turned toward us, He’s always making eye contact with us. He isn’t more present at one time as compared to another -- He’s not more with you when you pray, or when you praise Him, or when you’re in church. No, He’s faithfully with you at all times.
His presence implies then, that He knows everything about us--every thought, every action, every word; every hurt, every joy, every conversation. He is with us when we’re laughing with a group of friends, and with us when we’re crying alone in our bed at night. He knows, sees, and is with us in every moment and experience in our lives. He is intimate and close.
You know how there’s one thing for most of us that we always struggle with? It gets better over time as the Lord grows us, but it still is there? For me, one of those things is loneliness. I’ve always struggled with being lonely. I fear being lonely--and have experienced it at various times throughout my life. Funny thing is, even in the midst of busyness, and being around lots of people, I can still come away feeling lonely. I so enjoy the small groups, or heart to hearts--times when I feel like I’m really connecting to someone--I know them, they know me.
Know. What a powerful word. And I think that’s key. We all long to be known, and to be fully loved in that knowing. Tim Keller says it perfectly in The Meaning of Marriage, ““To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
God fully fills that desire in our lives. He knows us completely, 100%, intimately. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees everything, and He still adores us. He cherishes us, wants us, likes us, and is with us. He never leaves.
Lately, I feel like the Lord is stretching me. It’s a growing season for me, a season where I’m messy, and God’s digging things up, and refining me. I feel insecure, and often lonely. (Yikes, here’s my heart. Coffee and a heart to heart anyone!?) But despite my feelings and my messiness, I am so thankful that God is working in me. I’m so thankful that He works with my mess, and He is for my good. I’m thankful that He is refining me and giving me opportunities to continue to grow in my struggle with loneliness. He’s pointing me to Himself, yet again, showing me that even when I feel lonely, He is with me. I’m never alone, for He is right by my side. And He’s causing me to rely on Him for friends, and on how to be a good friend. He’s my anchor, my rock, my steady One. He’s drawing me close, showing me who I am in Him, and reminding me that I have all I need in Him--He is my comfort, my refuge, my hope.
The presence of God is a beautiful attribute of God that needs to be spoken of more often. Sweet sister, do you believe, do you know, that God is with you this very moment? He’s facing you. He sees you. He knows you. He will never leave your side. You can have hope that you’re not alone today. You can rejoice that wherever you are, there He is--you have all you need at this very moment.
And can I say one more thing for our generation? I’ve heard a lot at various gatherings, people pray, “God will you show up?” I’ve asked it before. But here’s the beauty: He already is there. He’s in you. He dwells with you. Wherever you are if you’re a believer, there He is. Yes, we can pray that He’d reveal Himself, or that our hearts would be softened to see Him or know Him better, but we don’t need to ask that He shows up because He’s there, our eyes just need to be opened to His sweet presence.
Ps. 16:11 states, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy…” When we open our eyes to see His presence, when we cling to Him and put our hope in the fact that He is with us, we can be full of joy. His presence shines forth into our hearts and brings deep, inner joy. Even in the midst of feeling lonely, we can still burrow our hearts in His presence and have sweet fellowship with Him.
Yes, we need fellowship with people too, but let’s continue to go back to the beginning, back to the foundation, of how God is with us, He walks with us, always. Often friends come for a season--they move away, you get married, and although you stay connected, it’s just not the same as doing life with them. But Jesus, He walks life with us forever. He never changes, never moves--He is with us for eternity.
I’m so thankful for this beautiful promise. How does God’s omnipresence affect your life? Do you live with this promise in mind, or do you often forget?
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